We were delighted to support Afrik'Art Festival, a new three-month event organized by the Africa-France Artistic Federation (FAAF) in the Montpellier region of southern France.

The festival culminated into the 28th Africa-France Summit held in the city in October. The aim? To promote and support local African artists, many of whom are refugees or have been displaced from their home countries. An exciting schedule of art exhibitions, residencies, fashion shows, film projections, live performances, workshops and debates bought a buzz to the Occitanie region.

Liquitex provided materials for the Afrik'Art residency series. Seven artists took part from all corners of the African continent, including the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Guinea. The residency was based at Le Reservoir arts space in Sete and kicked off with a technical workshop by Liquitex artist Laurent Blandin. Here, he introduced the artists to different ranges such as Acrylic Markers and Spray Paint. Largescale works were produced and exhibited within the Sete space before moving to Le Serre Gallery in the city. The opening night party was attended by the Mayor of Montpellier and each artist had the opportunity to present their work and talk about their experiences.

The residency artists also became involved in other festival activities. Bellah Bah and Obou created public pieces using Liquitex in Montpellier. Obou’s signature masked figures are central to his huge 24m x 3m open air work at the Hall Tropisme, using Liquitex Spray Paint and Basics. Rafiy Okefolahan and Ikram Ben Brahim hosted inclusive creative workshops for kids with themes of color discovery and diversity. The artists’ work then became part of the Montpellier Art Fair where Well Rimo also did a two-hour live painting installation using Liquitex Basics.

FAAF was started in 2021 by friends Valère Hounhanou and Joël Réjant, with the objective of helping young Africans and diaspora artists to increase their visibility on the artistic scene. Valère, who was born in Togo, and Joël, who originates in the West Indies, now live in France. They started the festival to develop cultural links between the African continent and Montpellier and to promote difference as a strength, in a spirit of solidarity and exchange.

Valère tells us, “It's important to be able to put in place a strategy to build a bridge between Africa and the metropolis. Montpellier is a city with great diversity. It's a strength. We must highlight African art. We wanted to set up this project to support artistic creation. Its purpose is to detect young talents who have potential but lack exposure. We bring them contacts with galleries and people who can help them.”

The first Afrik'Art Festival was such a success that it will become an annual event sponsored by the city of Montpellier and the region, with a focus on film, fashion, contemporary art, literature and dance. Find out more here.